What’s Up?

Thought I would take a little time to let you know what is coming up!  I will be releasing my Black Friday-Small Business Saturday-Cyber Monday extravaganza email on Monday…so if you are not a subscriber…get on that train yo!

Up first….I am happy and honored to be included in the Lupulin Brewing  Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26 right here in Big Lake!   I use Lupulin beer in my beer soap, so being there to sell my soap and explain what beer soap is all about to those who have never been exposed to that beast is exciting!  I’ll see you there 10am-4pm!

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Up Next….The Art A Go Go annual Holiday Pop up shop will be going on at the Ciel Loft & Home Warehouse in St. Louis Park.  This is my second year doing this, and I am honored to be there!  We will be set up and ready to go Dec. 3, 10am-5pm.  Come and shop all the soaps from me, and there are also great shops that are participating as well:

WKS Designs,  Debbie Wolk Designs,  Doodle Your Day Away,  Double Take Salsa,  Hagen and Oats,  Mixed Up Designs,  Diana D. Darden,  Muddy Mouth Cards,  Punchy Magnolia,  QK Shop,  Storm Sister,  V Gallery,  &  2nd Row Jewelry….. and of course…. Plaid & Rose!

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Hope to see you out and about!  Enjoy your day, and I will be posting again real soon!

A Pre-Holiday Why

After much reflection I finally decided that it was time that I wrote this particular post.  It may inflame some, but I hope it explains to you, the lover of all things handcrafted, why on earth I present things the way I do.

I make soap from scratch.  It contains simple ingredients of oils, butters, water(sometimes beer), lye, a fragrance or essential oil(sometimes both, sometimes neither) and a lab created mica that is soap and body safe.  That is it.  I make my soap from scratch.  It cannot cure the common flu.  It cannot cure skin problems.  It cannot make you breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

What my handmade soap CAN do is give you a great bathing/shower experience.  Since the soap has no harsh chemicals(in the end product), contains no surfactants, parabens, dimethicone(or anything that ends in cone), or food chunks, the soap can get you clean.  And, if not used right away can be stored in a linen closet for years to come.

Why do some make skin and medical claims about their products and I do not?

Because I follow FDA regulations that simply state:  if you are producing a product that simply cleanses the skin, you cannot make any cosmetic or medical claims that indicates that your soap does anything else for the consumer….except to simply cleans the skin.

I cannot speak as to why some make claims.  I know it brings them sales.  And good for them for being able to sell a handmade product in a glutted market full of soap and cosmetics(anything else that is not soap).  However, as a consumer, you should know that soap cannot cure eczema.  It cannot change your life.  But it can get you clean.

That is all.  If you have any particular questions or comments about this particular topic, please feel free to share them!

Fall

As the leaves fall and there is a whiff of pumpkin spice everything in the air, my thoughts turn to my soaping cave, customer service, and business in general.  I am facing the ever looming possibility that perhaps I need to add something to my product line that is not soap, but can be used in a bathtub.

So, with that said, I’d love to hear from you.  When you buy soap, what other products do you typically purchase as well?  Do you need a huge lineup of soaps and bath bombs and balms, or do you like a tight offering of products?

 

To Pop Up….Or No

I’ve a modest shop.  You might have heard of it.  It’s called Plaid & Rose.  I have been working on my website for over a year…adding features, taking away features….

The major feature I want to talk about today is pop ups.  To have, or not.  To irritate (and yet, entice and intrigue), or forge ahead and keep building that email subscription list.

I don’t mind pop ups.  To me, they are an opportunity to get a coupon, or learn more about a business that I just discovered.  When I placed an email signup pop up on my shop, I promised no coupon, but I did promise exclusive deals, and delivered on that.  However, I have heard from many(mostly people in my industry) that pop ups are irritating and they cause people to click out of a shop and….go away.  I feel like it increased my subscriber list by 120%.

So perhaps the way I feel about pop ups are how most people feel?

How do you feel about pop ups?

To pop up or not…..

I’m Just Not That Into You….

Lately I’ve broken my rule to not talk about politics because I just cannot help myself.  But let’s be honest.  Do people who hang out on social media want to really have a constructive and educated lively discussion?

I’ve come to understand that people these days do not, in fact want to have a constructive conversation about anything.  The answer, simply, is they are simply not into anything you have to say, but they’re all about what they have to say.

So I’m backing up my truck so to speak and getting back to something that really makes me happy…

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….and I’ll be doing this all night and all next week too.

Namaste

Tutorial Overload

Oh YouTube how I love you so….but the tutorials are getting a bit much.  For instance, I am going to be 48 this year.  While the skin gods have smiled down on me for years, I see that it is time to switch up my skincare and makeup game…momma is starting to show a little wear.

So I go to YouTube to see what everyone who thinks they are anyone recommends, and do you know there are hundreds upon hundreds of product reviewers.  HUNDREDS.  Most of them are young, late teens to mid thirties.  Very few in my age category, and I noticed that they all mostly review the same products around the same times (this I later found out was due to the fact that most of these “reviewers” get free product from the manufacturers of said product in exchange for an online review.)  There are a few who actually go out and buy the products and give their unbiased opinions…those are gold.

Another part of the world that is starting make me twitch is the business guru sector.  Everyone is a business expert.  Everyone is more than happy to take the money you don’t have and tell you the exact same things the next guru is going to tell you.  I know this, because I have tried several, I have worked my ass off and you know what…the money that I paid basically comes down to what I can embroider on a coaster and give to everyone…..my advice……because I have literally done it all, paid for it all, and in the end….you don’t get a refund for being stupid.

In the end…I have a product I am proud of, a website I am still working on, and a brand name that I think is pretty damn kick ass creative.  Could I have gotten this far on my own?  Maybe, maybe not.  I know I would not have a trademark, better product photography, and a better(not perfect, but getting there)brand voice without help…so there is that!

Anyway, those are my thoughts for the day.  If you would like to see who I do watch on YouTube for makeup and skincare advice, look below.  I will also share links to products I absolutely love.  And, I will share my website link so you can see what 9 years of blood, sweat, tears and a whole lot of cash has gotten me so far.  I’m pretty proud of my journey, even if it has taken me forever to get to this point.

YouTubers who are over 40 and full of great advice:

Hot & Flashy

Unique Monique

My skincare and makeup links:

Clinique’s Three Step System—I use #3 Comination Oily-Oily because I still produce oil like a teenager despite the fact that the rest of my body is dry

(I’ve also started the Dior Capture Totale One Essential & Dreamskin treatments…I’ll follow up with this once I’ve used it for more than a month….these treatments are not cheap so we shall see if they live up to the hype!)

Urban Decay—The Ride or Die Best Foundation Ever—-I use 3.5 in the summer, and in the winter I’ll use the new 3.25.  I have tried their other foundations and found this one to be the best for buildability, and plays nice with both brushes and beauty blenders

Diorshow Mascara

Laura Mercier Setting (and baking) powder—This stuff is amaze-balls good….as long as you don’t put it on heavily!  I use a damp beauty blender to put some under my eyes and around my oily areas…and it is stay all day HOLY SHIT wow.

And I use a variety of blushes……I’ve got a lot of stuff sitting around…

And if you really want some business advice and just kinda need a little kick in the pants(cuz who doesn’t like that from time to time…eh?)  I do highly recommend :

Lela Barker of Lucky Break Consulting

Modern Soapmaking with Kenna Cote

And….there is a young man right here in my state who is making a lot of waves with his hands on getting to know a company while he works with them technique…his name is Jerrod Sumner of Brandtabulous.  I have met this man and he is amazing, but am waiting to gather up some monies to work with him…as I’d love to get the last few blocks of my branding down and in hard copy as far as my website and packaging looking.

And lest we forget the reason for this blog in the first place:  Plaid & Rose 

 

 

 

Let’s Shift….

Ahhhhh it is August!  Just 4 1/2 weeks left and mini me will be in High School!  It also means, that when that happens, the soap making commences, I can clean the house in my underthings, and I can throw open the windows and sing the Sound of Music to my new unaware neighbors(and I’ll do it at 6 am on a Saturday just to get in some much deserved revenge!)

*pause here while I get back on track….*

It’s not that I don’t like to make soap when my daughter is around, in fact she finds the whole thing quite fascinating and “cool”.  But we are busy bees in the summer and it’s just not a good time to put everything on hold whilst I bang out 35 pounds of soap…

August also brings with it some of the hottest, muggiest weather imaginable to Minnesota and 3/4 of the United States.  But it also means that fall is right around the corner, which, is my fave time of year.  Not because of pumpkin everything, which btw…ew.  But because it gets cooler.  You can leave your windows open at night and during the day the sun is low and slow.  If everyday could be 80’s during the day and 50’s at night…I’d be a happy camper.

But I digress.  As if this post were not random enough…here are a few of my early August faves.  And, your welcome.

 

Weekend Faves

July is almost over, which means the special on the 6 pack cases is almost over as well!  I get a lot of people who ask…

“Dee, which soap would you choose?”

I’ll show you now~Enjoy!

I highly recommend choosing two of either the Juneau or Wanderlust…you are definitely going to want another one right away after using the first one!

Dear Seasoned Driver,

To the gentleman who stopped in the Big Lake Thrift store/Tootsies Bar parking lot yesterday, July 27th at approx. 2:30 in the afternoon, I want to thank you for hurling assaults at me from your Big White truck driver’s side window.  I want to thank you for thinking that everyone should drive 20 miles an hour, never switch lanes….and obviously you were so busy watching me drive that you forgot the correct way to park in a parking lot.

You see, because you started off your tirade assuming I was a stupid woman, you lost me the minute you started.  Had you wanted to be constructive and just let me know I was being maybe a little reckless(which I was not, btw)….we could of had a nice chat.

As you drove away I said, because I am polite, “I’m sorry, sir”…to which you cut me off and said, “yeah, you are a sorry excuse!”

I’m sorry….I know we all have busy lives, stresses, personal issues, but that does not excuse hurling insults at people.  And I’m not just talking about yesterday’s incident, I’m talking about everyday life, in person, on the internet.  People have really forgotten how to communicate in a constructive and polite manner.  The older gentleman who proceeded to school me by hurling insults obviously thought I was a teenager as I had no makeup on and my hair was in a ponytail.  If I had been an older gal of 60+ would he have treated me that way?  I don’t know.

All I do know is I’ve seen a lot of rudeness lately, and it quite frankly really pisses me off.  Before you hurl an insult or start yelling at people, why not find out what the problem is.  If you cannot be nice…move on.  Don’t assume that you are the master of all things.

So, not so kind sir, this 47 year old mother of a teenager, stepmother of three, and a grandmother to two would like you to know that not only are you the most rudest human being I have ever come in contact with, but you might do yourself a favor and suck on a few sweets to get rid of that sourness that you think is helpful.  Do the world a favor and just drive on.  Your words are unhelpful, you knew nothing of the situation going on at the time, and quite honestly, I’m sure you stopped about 4 more people before heading out of town.  Or, maybe you just needed an excuse to vent because your family leaves the room when you start in because you don’t block them with your truck.

Just sayin.

One More Week

Although I can’t say that I will be sad when this month is over, I have learned a ton from doing this little experiment that I called a self inflicted blog challenge.  I think I only missed 4 days this month, which was pretty good.  Will I ever blog this much again?  Probably not.  And here is why…

Over the past three weeks I blogged almost every day.  I tried to keep the focus on my business, but if you have been following my daily posts you will notice that I went into other avenues as well.  I posted quotes, pictures, a whiny post about blogging..lol, and just nonsense.  Of all those posts, I had the most likes and traffic to my website when I posted the Martin Luther King Quote.  I got comments on none of my posts except for the Whiny post about blogging…..which…I don’t know if that says something about society’s need to comfort and reinforce, or….?  And the truly interesting statistic comes when I look at my posts about my soap and see not only are there no likes, but there is no traffic as well.

Bear in mind that I also link my posts to my facebook page and twitter, google + and pinterest.

I did manage to gain 8 new followers to this blog….and I thank you for following along.

Now, while all of this is fascinating, I think it also tells a tale about social media, sharing, blogging and just how present you have to be to see real results.  I am of the opinion these days that I would literally have to have a team of 100 minions in my home on a daily basis, taking pictures that are Martha Stewart fresh and worthy, to do all my social media on the hour every hour, and crank out new product every season like clockwork.  Hmmm….

Maybe this will be my next challenge.  I am going to work like 100 minions next month!  I am going to schedule my photoshooting days, and then do nothing but social media bomb the earth with my business goodness.

We shall see what happens then…..